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Bebop Spoken There

Howard Roberts: "The guitar is caught right in the thick part of the piano keyboard, right in the register where pianists do most of their work, and, boy, it gets like a can of worms in there if you're both not careful." - (Down Beat June 29, 1966).

Simon Allen: “I started saxophone at secondary school when I was 12 and got to Grade 8 when I was about 15.” – (Jazzwise February 2014).

Bebop Spoken There Archives.

Today Friday July 25.

Afternoon.
RENDEZVOUS JAZZ - Black Horse, Monkseaton. 1pm. Free.
Classic jazz.
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Evening.
SHOESHOP QUARTET - Sunderland International Air Show, Cliffe Park, Whitburn Rd., Sunderland SR6 9NS. Free. 6.30pm.
Barbershop quartet with Ruth Lambert.
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THOMAS BROWN AFFAIR - Hoochie Coochie, 54 Pilgrim St., Newcastle NE1 6SF. £17. 9pm (on stage).
Fantastic pairing of Thomas Brown and Kenny Thomas. Find out more.
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ALT - Jazz Café, 25 Pink Lane, Newcastle NE1 5DW. 9pm. £5/£3 (before 8.30pm.).
AKA Alan Law Trio. More great piano jazz at The Caff.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Felled again!

Somebody up there doesn't want me down there in Low Fell. Last Friday, Roy Williams was at Jazz At The Fell with the Vieux Carré Jazzmen but I didn't find out until the following Wednesday.
Tonight, I decided to listen to the New Century Ragtime Orchestra at the Dryden Centre in Low Fell. Now Dryden Road is a well known road in the area and it seemed to me that Dryden Road would be the logical place to site a Dryden Centre.
Wrong!
After driving up and down the long and winding road several times, I failed to uncover any Drydenic Centres. Asking the natives proved to be equally futile. Their responses were uniform; shaking of heads, narrowing of eyes, scratching of heads, widening of eyes. Where they differed was in their solutions. One sent me to a snooker club, another to a care home, yet another to a former hospital. It appeared that nobody in Dryden Road had a clue where the Dryden Centre, presumably a civic amenity, was.
By now, stomp off time had passed and the Ragtime Orchestra would probably have already played a few cakewalks and The Midnight Choo Choo may well have left for Alabam (where my honey lamb, am - beautiful triple rhyme!). Cold and frustrated, I gave up and went home.
Checking the flier, given to me by Ragtime Dave Kerr, I discovered that the Dryden Centre was actually in Evistone Gdns - a Buddy Bolden ff away from Dryden Road.
My own fault, I know, I should have ascertained the correct geographical location before leaving and I was tempted to return and catch the last set but, by this time, I'd made myself a coffee, fed the cat, put a Hank Mobley CD on the player and felt myself returning to normality.
Catch you next time guys - promise.

The Wisdom of Warne (Marsh)

"At some point, you have to be prepared to create--to perform. It's vital, man, if we're talking about jazz, the original jazz, the performing art. It fulfills its meaning only when you play it live in front of an audience."
Down Beat January 1983.

Dave O'Higgins with the Noel Dennis Quartet - Report by Hil

I didn't see any of the usual jazz fans at the gig in Middlesbrough last night. Pity as they missed a real treat. It was Dave O'Higgins on Sax, Noel & Adam Dennis on trumpet and piano + Adrian Tilbrook and Andy Champion on drums and bass. The music, naturally, was great. "Blue Monk" is one of my favourites and they included it.
The venue is a really lovely big room, with a huge screen at the back of the stage (Adrian would be able to tell you about it better than I.) Apparently it's part of the college (don't know much about the college other than its name, MTLC) however, there was lots of secure parking outside. The people who put the gig on are hoping to make it a regular jazz gig and intend to bring more biggish names in. Might well be worth you checking it out at future jazz gigs?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Yaron Herman Trio & Tom Cawley's 'Curios'. The Sage

This was one of those last minute decisions that saw me transported, as if by magic carpet, to the Sage. I'd heard 'Curios' earlier in the year at Scarborough so I knew what to expect. Aggression tempered with tenderness and it was the tender moments that won through for me even if I found it a little strange, or should I say 'curious', that pianist Tom Cawley chose to dedicate one of those delicate moments to an unemployed Formula One driver - Jenson Button! Another moment of rare beauty was a piece called "Truce". This simply cried out for it to be played alongside an appropriate poem - come in Keith or Angela.
Yaron Herman was something else again! He played total piano in the two-fisted way that Peterson and Tatum did; utilising the whole keyboard and even doing a Monk (Thelonius) like dance when the tension became almost unbearable. Of Israeli origin, he beautifully incorporated "In The Wee Small Hours of the Morning" into one of his national folk songs. It could have been arranged by Delius or Debussy such was the harmonic texture.
Bass and drums blended in well and, unlike their 'Curios' counterparts they swung when it was necessary that they 'swung'. In fairness to 'Curios', swinging isn't high up on their list of priorities.
A different, yet nonetheless enjoyable,night.

Marlena Shaw - The Sage - Jan 28. Report by Jim McD.

There is something of the raunchy, good-time girl, about Marlena Shaw which instantly connects with the audience; Dee Dee Bridgewater and Tina Turner also have this 'hipnotic' appeal.
Backed by her 'Dream Team', a quintet reminiscent of the Grover Washington band of the 1970's who laid down juicy Hammond chords, funky bass lines and lyrical passages from tenor sax or flute, Marlena served up a cocktail of Soul, Gospel and Blues. With proportionate measures of R&B, Funk and Disco added, the heady brew was both shaken and stirred with such verve that the result was a potion that intoxicated her audience to such a degree that they would have followed her anywhere.
Although not a night of straight ahead Jazz - more a mixture of 'Grooves' - the highlight for me was a tour de force rendition of Lionel Hampton's 'Hey-ba-ba-re-bop' that really set the place on fire. An evening of musical adventure then with Marlena's charisma winning through to the last chorus!
Previously, local act 'Damascus' played their own brand of Soul and were well received.
Jim.

South Shields Customs

That fine organisation, the Customs House Big Band, are holding an open rehearsal at the New Crown Hotel on Tuesday 3rd February. Admission is free and gives listeners the opportunity to hear the band, warts and all, for nowt! Sounds like good value.
My informant, Miles Watson, tells me the band are doing two nights at the Customs House in March (24th & 25th) by which time the warts hopefully will have been dispensed with. There will, of course, be a break of approximately 24 hours between the two concerts to enable band and audience to eat, sleep and whatever. The guest artist will not be Robbie Williams or Brian Bennett. It will however, be Ruth Lambert. Her womanly warblings are ever welcome.

Mobley's Motto

The late great tenor player, Hank Mobley, received this piece of musical advice from his Uncle Dave: "If you're with someone who plays loud, you play soft. If someone plays fast then you play slow. If you try to do what they're doing; you're in trouble."
Sounds like it might not have been bad advice at that. It worked for Hank who was my favourite of all the Blue Note tenor players.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Budvivar Take it to The Bridge

A very pleasant evening at the Chilli including a set by one of the newer bands - Budvivar. Make a note of them - you won't be disappointed.
A swingy octet, they sit comfortably at the modern end of mainstream without making too many demands on the listener. On vocals, Debra Milne gave her own delightful take on standards although a soundcheck would have enhanced her performance even more. Nevertheless, it was all grand stuff with "Love Me Or Leave Me" and "Four" being particularly good. A Jobim number, perhaps she will remind me of the title, sung in unison with the horns, also hit the spot.
The saxes, Fiona Littlewood (alto) and Stuart Findon (ten) too had moments with Stuart playing some fine solos. On trombone, Joe Fowler blew with mucho gusto - perhaps he heard Gareth Roberts last night at the Cluny. It gave a lot of depth to the front line.
Eddie Nickson (gtr), Jim Crinson (fretless), Chris Finch (pno) and Eric Stutt (dms) kept it all together.
Impressed! (Photos).
Take it to the Bridge were a little subdued in the first set but things jumped in the final bash with Paul Gowland once more kicking ass on alto.
John Pope on Jim's fretless, guitarists James and Stuart all did the business. As did Barry and of course let's not forget Dave - talk about Hamlet without the Prince of Denmark!
Dave sang "It's all in the Game" totally unacompanied whilst waiting for the band to get back on. A gem.

Gateshead Jazz Society Lives

Although their inner workings are more mysterious than those of 'Opus Dei', 'The Sons of Sam', or Roy Williams' gigs at The Fell, I note from a "Gateshead Live" booklet given to me by Russell (who is more frequently associated with the 'now departed') the Gateshead Jazz Society is listed as meeting on alternative Thursdays at "Gateshead Heritage @ St.Mary's".
I remember when they met at Caedman Hall - I guess they've moved. More info would be welcomed.

Ed Bickert by Roly

Canadian Ed Bickert is one of the all time great jazz guitarists. A very quiet, modest man he has graced the Canadian jazz scene for fifty+ years but I read somewhere that, sadly, he has totally retired now, depressed by the death of his wife about five years ago. All he ever seemed to play was an old beat up 50s Fender Telecaster but from it he extracted a gorgeous warm tone with which he created his lyrical melodic lines and tasteful, subtle comping. He worked with all the top mainstream Canadian and USA players - his recordings with Paul Desmond regarded as classics. Definitely a unique player worth checking out. For more info go to this link .
Hear him play 'You'd be so nice' (to come home to).

Roly

Lush Life - Sarah Vaughan & Ella Fitzgerald from Hil

Cop a listen to this....it's wonderful! Hil.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Gareth Roberts Quintet @ The Cluny

An interesting band from Wales that, possibly because of the long drive from Cardiff, took a while to impact. However, after a routine opening set, the trumpet and trombone frontline upped the ante in the second and whilst I personally would have liked a sax to balance things out they played some compelling stuff.
Leader Roberts has a rumbustious trombone style that frequently segués into impish ribaldry. Fortunately, it is also tempered with an occasional mellowness that Roy Williams would have been proud of. (Incidentally, am I the only person in the world who didn't know that Williams guested with the Vieux Carré at Gateshead Fell last Friday?).
On trumpet and four valved flugel, Gethin Liddington had his moments but for me the outstanding performance was by Jones the Piano. Paul Jones - on a real piano - played brilliantly; someone compared him to McCoy Tyner and they weren't far wrong. His dexterity and inspired solos were sheer joy.
The Brothers O'Connor, Chris on bass and Mark drums, were sound and both soloed effectively.
All in all one of the tastier of the curate's eggs.

My One and Only Love - Coltrane/Hartman

Just love this track from one of my favourite discs. John Coltrane could do 'pretty' when required and Johnny Hartman has the resonance of Billy Eckstine and the satin sound of Nat Cole - he should have been right up there with them.
If you can't get the girl/boy with this - go take a bath.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Alter Ego Knockout at Side Café

Even though guitarist Andy Pattinson was absent and Ian Paterson was subbed by Andy Champion this was a cracking night. Although everyone soloed at length, they didn't all solo on every number which was like a breath of fresh air. Nor did every number end with that often meaningless exercise known as 'fours'. Instead we had tight arrangements, albeit with occasional bursts of contrapuntal freedom, and imaginative solos.
Dave Hignett, mellow on flugel, reached for the stratosphere on trumpet whilst Niall Armstrong played good post bop tenor as well as a couple of flute features. Keith Robinson on alto comfortably covered the ground from Charlie Parker to Ornette and Andy Hawking proved a good advert for Roland pianos - he swung.
Plenty swinging from Dave Francis on drums. Andy Champion, on bass guitar this time round, slotted in effortlessly both in the section and solowise.
I can't remember all the tunes but I particularly dug, "Compulsion" by Miles and Hank Mobley's "Roll Call" as well as the quaintly titled "Episode From A Village Dance".
Come back soon.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Rebecca Parris on Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Marian McPartland's guest on this December 2008 program is Rebecca Parris; a singer first brought to my attention by Zoe and Hilary Gilby. (Photo: l-r. Zoe, Rebecca and Jeannie Bryson. Courtesy of Hilary) Click here to listen.90 year old Marian plays a very emotive piano version of "These Foolish Things" that belies her age. More emotion when Rebecca sings "This Is Always".
Zoe, incidentally, is on at Side Café 2 Feb.

RIP Whitey Mitchell

Whitey Mitchell of the bass playing Mitchell's, Red and Whitey, died 16 January. As well as playing bass, Whitey also worked as a scriptwriter on TV. Credits included the Mary Tyler Moore Show. He recorded and played with a variety of bands including Lester Young and Benny Goodman. Along with brother Red, he recorded with 'Blue' Mitchell (no relation)! Obit.

The Brazilian Connection

That Cyber space swinger John Taylor - Major Domo of Ashington Jazz Club - inspired perhaps by Liz's Naudo posting sent me this link to a Brazilian blog - Jazzofilo -hosted by Claudio Cavalcanti. It's a great site with lots of good stuff including a link back here. Well worth a visit or ten.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Naudo from Liz

My son and my bro Les put me on to this Brazilian guitarist - Naudo. Les says he's like a Brazilian Charlie Byrd. Thought I'd draw him to your attention. Liz

Friday, January 23, 2009

Back to The Delta by John Taylor

I was one of the first people to have a mains audio-cassette recorder, but only had one tape. In 1970 a short documentary on the New Orleans Club was made by BBC Look North with voice over by Mike Neville. When It was transmitted, I made an audio recording * from the black and white telly. Unfortunately, the tape ran out just as Jurich was speaking. You can recognise the Vieux Carre playing in the club. * 'Your Files then Click on NOC mp3.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Waltz for Debby

Roly drew my attention to this YouTube clip of the Bill Evans Trio playing "Waltz For Debby. That tune is one of the most beautiful jazz originals ever and this version is as good as any that Bill recorded, and he did record a few. Scott LaFaro on bass and Paul Motian drums are the perfect soulmates with, as Roly pointed out, great brushwork from Paul Motian.
Strangely, the first time I heard "Waltz for Debby" was as a vocal at the Edinburgh Jazz Festival. It was also the first time I ever heard Carol Kidd - talk about falling in love twice at the same time!
I wasn't alone. Fred Hunt was standing next to me at the bar and he said, "I normally can't stand singers but that was something else!"
I couldn't have agreed more.
Unfortunately there's not much of Carol on YouTube to convey that magical moment 25 years ago but "When I Dream" hints at it. "Can't We Be Friends," entertaining as it is, was a more recent recording and...

Derek Wadsworth - Remembered by Laurie Brown

I was sorry to read of the death of Derek Wadsworth in your obituary column. He did indeed work with the Squads during my time with the band. I lost contact all those years ago but his wife Betty and son stayed with Joyce and I some time later. I remember a wry Yorkshire sense of humour along with his great playing!

RIP David 'Fathead' Newman & Leroy Cooper

Death announced yesterday of Fathead Newman aged 75. Never got to hear him live but at Scarborough this year the band 'A Tribute To Atlantic Jazz' had as its motivation the work of Newman and other Atlantic horn men. Gutsy tenor playing soaked in soul, funk and the blues; he could do tenderness too. He's up there with Brother Ray (Charles) now. Click here for "A Night in Tunisia". LA Times Obit. Leroy Cooper, who played baritone in the Ray Charles Band, died 5 days earlier aged 80. Click here for obit.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Heat is On

Last week at the Chillingham the punters were topping up their drinks with anti-freeze in an attempt to keep warm – this week the heating was back on although I think one or two were still on the anti-freeze. Perhaps they'd developed a taste for it. Some great things happened on the bandstand tonight. Mark Williams literally blew everyone away with an amazing guitar blast on “Four”. On “Blues For Duane” he did it again before Dave Weisser sang the Annie Ross take on Wardell Gray's “Twisted”. How he managed to remember all the words never mind vocalese them so well amazed me! Darren Grainger played strident alto throughout and Barry Ashcroft had more than a few good choruses. Eric Stutt drove the rhythm section along nicely whilst John Pope is fast becoming a force to be reckoned with on double bass. On second thoughts, delete 'fast becoming'. The second set saw James on guitar for “Stella” along with Paul Gowland on alto. “Yardbird Suite” taken at tempo de lick had Paul in full flight with Mark, who had taken over from James midway, also knocking them in. David Carnegie, now on drums, kept the pot boiling for one of the better nights.

Whatever Became of Gordon?

Those of you who remember that personable lad Gordon Sumner from the Newcastle Big Band, Last Exit, the Phoenix Jazzmen and other less (in)famous ensembles may be interested in the link below. It seems as how 'our boy done good.' Some other familiar faces here too.
Sting Me - A Danish Sting site.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Mick Shoulder/Graeme Wilson Quartet - Side Café

A pleasant evening of 'lesser known' standards although they probably weren't that lesser known. Nevertheless, it was nice to hear numbers like "I Guess I'll Have To Change My Plan" with punchy solos from Graeme on tenor, Mick on bass and Paul Edis on piano. The Billy Strayhorn classic "Lush Life" was imaginative and "Johnny Come Lately", also by Strayhorn, really got things moving.
"All The Way" may have been better suited to alto or else scored in a different key. However, a minor quibble and the guys got by ok. "If I Had You" had a nice easy lilt to it whilst "My Heart Stood Still" and "You and the Night and the Music" were swingers, powered along by Tim Johnstone on drums.
Musically excellent but, like the Chillingham last week, no discernible heating and not many bodies in the room to snuggle up to.

Corner House, Newcastle - The Golden Age

"The Golden Age of Jazz" is a term often bandied about. It's a subjective thing and to some it is New Orleans in the 1920s whilst to others it could mean the big bands of the '30s, 52nd St in '40s and so on. For those living in the North-east of England the 1980s was a particularly lustrous time with the seemingly endless stream of name Americans brought by JAZZ NORTH EAST to, mainly but not always, the Corner House in Heaton. Supported by a local rhythm section of Malcolm Saul/Billy Harper (pno); Pete Stuart/Derk Dixon (bs); Scott Adair/Ronnie Pearson/Adrian Tilbrook (dms) just about every available name turned out at least once and, if some didn't always live up to their reputation others often surpassed it.
Names I remember include: Nat Adderley, Doc Cheatham, Al and Joe Cohn, Lockjaw Davis, Harry Edison, Tal Farlow, Art Farmer, Jimmy Forrest, Al Grey, Slide Hampton, Peanuts Hucko, Barney Kessel, Jimmy Knepper, Jimmy McPartland, Jay McShann, Memphis Slim, James Moody, Mark Murphy, Joe Newman, Red Rodney, Bobby Shew, Sonny Stitt, Buddy Tate, Cleanhead Vinson, Jiggs Whigham, Kai Winding and Jimmy Witherspoon to mention just some.
Peanuts Hucko played with the Mainstreet Jazzmen whilst McPartland and Cheatham (I think) were with the Saratoga - please correct me if I'm wrong (as if I have to ask!)
Did you have a special favourite (Sonny Stitt for me)? Who have I missed out?
For photos from many of those sessions right click here then 'open in new window'.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Chet Baker Live at Ronnie Scott's 1986 TV

Cable TV is a wonderful thing. A mysterious house with many many mansions. So many channels you cannot keep track. One week they're there next they're gone sometimes they return.
Today, I discovered Sky Arts 2 and with it some vintage footage from 1986 of Chet Baker at Ronnie's. I'd seen it many years ago and remembered being irritated then by the intrusion of Van Morrison and Elvis Costello; I felt the same today. Not that I've got anything against either - any other time they'd have been welcome - but this was Chet; an anguished Chet with barely two years left.
I couldn't escape the sadness that engulfed me as I looked at the once finely chiselled features now careworn and rough hewn. The sound was still beautiful but it was beauty with a poignant edge and the notes were notes that fought to get out. The voice, no longer suave and sophisticated but with the rasping edge of the blues singer even though he wasn't singing the blues and he, more than anyone, had a right to sing the blues.
Afterwards, I re-read Keith Armstrong's poem - Chet From A Window - and I knew he'd nailed it.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

More from Angela J.Elliott

That Bardette of Bebop, Angela, has come up with another gem - "Dicing With Donna (Donna Lee)". Click here to read (play the Bird disc as you're reading"). Nice one Angela.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Jazz-O-Matic Four at The Saville Exchange

A delightful miniature by three Dutchmen and a Swede in an entertaining evening of 'hot' music from the 1920s. Nothing too taxing just good honest what you see is what you get jazz.
On cornet, Peter Ivan displayed strong Bixian leanings whilst on flugel he give a hint of what Bix may have sounded like on that most mellow of brass instruments - there's a thought to make you salivate - Bix playing flugel!
Tom Stuip played banjo but I forgave him his choice of instrument when he dedicated a composition to one of his cats, "Sneaker". Anyone who likes cats can't be all bad!
On bass saxophone, the man from Sweden, Franz Sjostrom tamed the beast and played some stomping solos à la Rollini, whilst on piano, the appropriately named Hans Bruin excelled on my favourite Fats number "Keeping Out of Mischief Now".
Question for jazzers - "How many times have you heard "Sioux City Sioux" played on a jazz gig? If the answer is 'none' then you weren't at the Saville Exchange, North Shields tonight which is your loss!

Stan Wilde's Wildcats in 1951 from Colin Aitchison

Hi Lance, I found this very interesting recording of Stan Wilde & The Wilde Cats plus a photo from a 1951 Northern Sound Studio session and decided to put a video together, the song is Lonesome Road and is quite a nice version, interesting no bass, but it works. A great bit of jazz history from the North East, in those wonderful days gone by... Cheers Colin Stan Wilde And The Wilde Cats 1951 Recording Of Lonesome Road Stan Wilde & The Wilde Cats 1951 Recording Of Lonesome Road, This band was a UK based band in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in the early 1950's, the band line up is:Stan Wilde (Piano - leader) Hughie Aitchison (Trumpet) Ronnie Maclean (Trombone) Brian Clark (Clarinet) Alan Shipley (Clarinet) Alan Brown (Guitar) Joe Ward (Drums) note there is no bass on the recording, and it was recorded on 25th, June, 1951, at the Northern Sound Studios, Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Chet - From A Window by Keith Armstrong.

CHET - FROM A WINDOW (in memory of Chet Baker 1929 -1988) The constant onslaught of Amsterdam surged through Zeedijk on that hot night when a full moon dragged you flying to your death. In your room, in the Prins Hendrik Hotel, your clothes lay neatly folded in your suitcase, with your body a foetus on the street below. Great white hope fallen offstage, a love for heroin never shaken. Sorrow was your stuff, a plaintive, lyrical anguish, an excess of gloom and charm. This undernourished and parched body, a singing corpse, searching for an uncollapsed vein, an expert driver hating the road and the bleak hotel of his doom. Such a foolish love. Oklahoma farmboy on a golden trumpet, his teeth knocked out in San Francisco, become chained to an album a day for a thousand dollars in cash. And the Italian you learned in a Lucca jail, your spirit surviving its deportation, a lonely and melancholy master drifter whose pianissimo touched the soul. Friday 13th May 1988, Chet’s heart stopped and his horn lost its tongue. KEITH ARMSTRONG 11 January 2009 17:34

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Chilly at the Chilli - No Heat in Heaton!

The music was cool and the temperature even cooler owing to a reputed malfunction of the central heating system. Hopefully this will be rectified soon as tonight saw the biggest audience in quite a while and it would be unfortunate if frostbite were to prevent them returning.
It was the usual suspects plus Laurie Brown on vibes. In the line-up was John Rowland (ten), Darren Grainger (alt), Dave Weisser (tpt), Barry Ashcroft (pno), Mick Danby (bs), James (gtr) and Eric Stutt (dms). Later, John Pope (bs), David Carnegie (dms) and an excellent guitarist called Stewart (see photo) spelled the rhythm section.
Lawrie played some fine vibes on "Moonglow" but, as last week, the highlight of the first set was a Barry Ashcroft original - a blues this time, the name of which I didn't catch.
After the break and the inevitable shuffling of the dots to accommodate the sitters-in, "Jive Samba" got things moving but it was the penultimate number that hit the home run - Shorty Rogers' "Short Stop" with a scorching solo from Darren which, considering his recent setback is no mean achievement.
Note for Laurie and John R re "Rosetta" Click here or for the relationship between "Yardbird suite" and "Rosetta" click here.

More on the New Orleans Club by John Taylor and Peter Gascoigne

The New Orleans Club was run by ex coal minor Jurich Namashinsky. (not sure on the spelling) A little before the club closed Jurich moved away and someone told me that he died a few years ago. I started going to the New Orleans Jazz Club on the recommendation of John Saxelby who was playing at the Portland Hotel with Clem Avery in Ashington in the 60s. For a while we went to the NOJC every Friday to listen to the V.C. After I got married I could no longer afford to do much jazz. A pal of mine liked the Django stuff, but had not been to the club. I said I had seen that Diz Dizley was guesting and we arranged to go along. The club was raided by the police that night and closed down.
The article that follows was copied from Jazz Times (six old pence) - February 1967 and was written by the late Peter Gascoigne ('Gassy'.)
John.
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North East Scene by Peter Gascoigne Most of the jazz to be heard in the North East is to be heard, as one might expect, in the principal town in the area, Newcastle. Most of the activity centres on the New Orleans Club, but I shall leave this club and it’s programme until later. The eight bands in the area provide almost a complete picture of jazz ranging from the New Orleans style of the Vieux Carre Jazzmen through the more Anglicised New Orleans style of the Clem Avery Jazzmen and the Phoenix Jazz men, the Dixieland jazz of the Ronnie McLean All-stars and Sheila Giles’ Band, culminating in the avant-garde of the Joe Young Band, Of the other two bands I haven’t mentioned, the River City Jazzmen are a team of fine musicians who are very much jazz-based, but also include a fair amount of comedy, both spoken and musically, in their programme. They run sessions at two pubs in Newcastle. One at the Bridge Hotel on Mondays, and one at the Corner House Hotel, just in the suburbs, on Wednesdays. The remaining band, Albert’s Hot Six, are a group of young musicians led by a veteran Newcastle trumpeter. Eric Miller, although I don’t suppose he’ll thank me for the use of the word veteran: The word is purely relative to his other musicians, but it gives a fair representation of the set-up in Newcastle. There are very few up and coming young musicians in the area, which is probably where we differ most from London. The people who would most likely have turned to jazz had they been born a few years earlier have in fact succumbed to the money and ‘glamour’ of playing pop. As it is, the nucleus of Newcastle Jazzmen are in their thirties and forties and although they play to audiences who are in their late teens and early twenties, there doesn’t appear to be any new recruits to the ranks. The audiences anyway don’t seem to have any deep knowledge of jazz. There are plenty of people in the North East who do love and understand the music, but not many of them seem to turn up to hear the local bands. The concerts presented by an organization called ‘Jazz North East’ are very well attended by appreciative audiences, but these have been concerts by Ed Hall, Earl Hines and other visiting Americans. Local bands get quite a large crowd, but ninety percent of these are indifferent to what the bands play. Still, as one famous British jazzman is reputed to have said……..”As long as there’s just one person listening – it’s all worth while”.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

New Orleans Club - Roly Veitch

My first experiences of local live jazz were at The New Orleans Jazz Club at the top of Forth Bank in Newcastle.
A dowdy building on the corner - you went down some stairs to a smokey cellar area with various murky recesses filled with bodies of all shapes and sizes. There, in the far corner, the band would play.
The club was run by a Pole, Jurich - I wonder what happened to him? Live music for me at that time (late 60s, 70s) would be a mix of The NO Club (jazz) and The Club Agogo (R&B) in Percy Street.
My memories of the local bands who played at The N.O. is hazy now - Mighty Joe Young with a quartet, Jeff Hedley (a very 'modern' player for the time) and his band, various other units. However, one magical concert stands out in the memory. It was by Zbigniew Namylowsky and his Polish Modern Jazz Quartet. He played alto in a fiery, boppish style. The pianist was a midget - he could hardly reach his hands up over the keyboard but was a wonderful player. It almost might have been Petrucciani but wasn't. Still don't know who he was. Drums and bass unknown too. The music, I read afterwards, was a mix of bop and ethnic folk music. I didn't really understand it but remember being mesmerised. That was my first encounter with the magic of international class jazz - an enthralling concert by some fantastic players.
Bill Harper recalled blind pianist Peter Jacobsen coming to a gig there with his dad - Peter was only in his early teens. His dad asked if he could sit in. The band were a bit uncertain about it and not sure what to expect. Anyway they agreed and Bill asked what tune he wanted to play. "Stella by Starlight" came the reply. 'Hmmmm - Stella', said Bill - 'what key?' 'Any key you like' young Peter replied. I like that story.
Does anyone have more detail about the club in general and this concert, the Polish jazz quartet, in particular, the other personnel etc?
Roly

Monday, January 12, 2009

Extreme Measures at the Side Café

To make a non-musical comparison, an Extreme Measures' arrangement is rather like tracing the path of the River Tyne. Five tributaries, starting out near the Scottish Borders or in the Cumbrian foothills, flowing gently eastwards. Each taking its own meandering path until, one by one they meet up and become stronger with the alliance. Eventually, just before Hexham, they merge and the five streams become a river that grows in intensity as it deepens, becomes louder, in its relentless search for the freedom of the sea. Finally it reaches South Shields/Tynemouth and, between the wave lashed piers, makes contact with the raging torrent. The passengers - in this case the audience - hang on in there the adrenalin coursing through their veins until, just when it seems time to man the lifeboats, the tempestuous water subsides and they float, emotionally drained, into calmer seas. We breath again - for awhile. Not many gigs cause me to wax quite so eloquently but an Extreme Measures gig is no ordinary gig.
From Gary Turner's sheets of sound, to Mark Williams' wild thrashes, to Ben Gilbert's quest for modal supremacy, to David Carnegie's power drums to Stuart Davies' work below deck, the end result is an experience that stays with you; trust me.
Special mention must be made of Mark Williams who not only has had his hair cut but performed superbly as a last minute dep for Jamie McRedie who was being detained at HM Pleasure in the Guildhall School of Music.
Great gig.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Angela's Special Edition

When it comes to jazz and poetry all wrapped up in one package I usually show more than a soupcon of suspicion. This dates back to a lunchtime jam session at the Corner House one Christmas Eve and local poet Keith Armstrong reading an epic about the closing of the Derwenthaugh Coke Works. Coming, as it did, after "C Jam Blues" and "Indiana" it could have been subtitled "The Party's Over".
Since then jazz and poetry, with the exception of Mingus' "The Clown", have been kept at ear's length.
However, along came Angela J.Elliott whom I've referred to in previous posts and my position has changed. Angela has kindly sent me a demo of a forthcoming album which contains several of her poems, all jazz based in both content and accompaniment, that get to the very heart of the jazz existance.
Original words - set to music by Coltrane, Miles, Horace Silver, Duke Jordan and Lee Morgan - are interspersed with Angela J's personal take on standards and a nerve tingling interpretation of Jon Hendricks' setting for Monk's "Ask Me Now".
Behind all this, the guys of Special Edition; Louis Cennano (bs), Barry Parfitt (kbds), Graham Pike (tpt/flug/harmonica/vocal) and John Salter (dms), provide enough musical Benzedrene to keep Angela flying. Click here.
Love it.
(Keith Armstrong, referred to above, has added his comments and included his own moving item in memory of Chet Baker; "Chet - From a Window".
So that it doesn't get overlooked I've moved the thread back up the pecking order.)

Friday, January 09, 2009

Joscho StephanTrio

The Joscho Stephan Trio is giving a concert at South Shields Customs House on Saturday 21 February. The publicity reads: "Following his spectacular performance at The Customs House with Tommy Emmanuel two years ago, the Joscho Stephan trio returns to show why he is without doubt the finest Gypsy Jazz style guitarist in the World." "Joscho Stephan represents the future of gypsy jazz guitar!" (Acoustic Guitar Magazine) I decided to check him out on YouTube. To judge for yourself Click here.

Barry Galbraith by Roly

Barry Galbraith was regarded as one of the all time great jazz guitarists and THE studio session player in NY during the 50s & 60s. He was also a profoundly important teacher and influenced many of the guitarists who had moved to NY and who sought him out for help and guidance. His reputation was second to none. Anyone interested to learn more about him might like to look at this link.
Roly

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Jazz Art

Paul Edis has drawn my attention to the work of Alistair Graham and his impressions - some may and have said 'grotesqueries' - of well known jazz musicians past and present. They are quite unique and worth studying at leisure.
Click here.

Keith Stephens Trio and Caroline Irwin. Report by John Taylor

I was concerned that numbers would be down for Ashington Jazz Club's first session of 2009. In the past we did not do January. However, last night passed all expectations even though at least 12 of the regulars were down with flu. etc. Lots of new faces in the audience including surprise guests Gordon Solomon of the River City Jazzmen and Frank Wappett from Radio Newcastle. Final total 72 - last years average was 60. This was a very good turnout for what turned out to be the most entertaining night I have ever had in any jazz club! As we say in Ashington "They really worked hard for their coals" using a wide combination of instruments and a most eclectic mix of numbers.
Some of the xmas decoration were still up so Caroline dressed as Santa's elf and sang "Santa Baby", making excellent use of the radio mike as she moved through the audience.
Lots of Edith Piaf favourites (in French) and even some Doris Day numbers were welcomed by an appreciative audience. My wife Sheila helped me out on the door and she said how much everyone had enjoyed something a little different. This was only her second visit to the club, the first time was for Ruth Lambert.
The band dedicated an arrangement (based on "Amazing Grace") to the young couple who were killed in a house fire at Ashington at the New Year. The young girl did the catering at The Elephant and the staff have all had a difficult time.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Take it to the Bridge Explodes

The Chillingham evening began with the news that the advertised Alan Glen Trio wouldn't be appearing. However, a workmanlike, day at the office, set by Take it to the Bridge compensated more than somewhat. Dave Weisser (tpt/vcl), Darren Grainger (ten), Barry Ashcroft (pno), James ? (gtr), John Pope (bs) and Eric Stutt (dms) were this week's dispensers and it was an original by Barry - "Mr Rascal" - that got the plaudits although "Stella By Starlight" with Claude Werner on bass wasn't bad either.
After the intermission, the mercury shot up with a vengeance due to an infusion of adrenalin from Claude Werner, now on tenor, Nicola on bari and David Carnegie on drums and then piano.
"Yardbird Suite" saw Claude kick off the solos with approximately ten million choruses each one wilder than the one before. The Cheerful Chilean doesn't take any prisoners and tonight he was well and truly 'on song'. After such a tour de force there was an understandable reluctance to pick up the gauntlet! However, young James on guitar responded with a few inspired choruses of his own without straying beyond the bounds of sanity and Nicola played some beefy baritone sax. Darren, Barry, John Pope and Dave W also kicked in.
"Beautiful Love" had David C on piano and more musical histrionics from Claude - he is something else!
Next week it's Laurie Brown on vibes.

That "Je Ne Sais Quoi" - Roly

Our little discourse about Kamuca raises a fundamental point. What are we all looking for from music? It was Kamuca who more than anyone focused my thoughts on what it is I look for from music in general, jazz in particular.
It's nothing to do with technique, cutting edge, originality, excitement, surprise - although all these things are very important. No - it's to do with that mystery something that tugs at your heart strings and maybe even brings a tear.
A very subjective thing no doubt.
In my view there are certain players (a small select group) who have that innate quality and it stems from extreme sensitivity. As a teenager it used to be Buddy Holly, then Sonny Terry/Brownie McGhee and now, Bix, Lady Day, Pres, Bird, Chet, Sinatra, Richie K, Ornette, and I'm presently belatedly 'discovering' Schubert's very touching music. Much as I love the guitar (eg. Jim Hall) and great pianists (eg. Bill Evans) neither the guitar nor piano 'does it' for me. I think it needs to involve human breath so it has to be horn players or singers.
If I had to single out for me the most moving player in all of jazz, I would say Bix!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Words and Music

Roly introduced me to "Dear Bix" played and sung by Richie Kamuka - it's a Dave Frishberg original dedicated to you know who and worthy of standing alongside that other great tribute song - "I Remember Clifford".
Roly also remarked ... " Another great song is When the World was Young - I reckon thats one of the greatest of all Songbook repertoire. I know jazz players like nice harmonies to solo over and lovely melodies etc but I am even more drawn to what I think are great lyrics above all else. It's the words that give the deep meaning - anyone else agree?"
I think I know someone who might go along with that ...

Monday, January 05, 2009

Roly Veitch Trio at the Quadrata Café

The main problem with the Quad Café is the acoustics. In some parts of the allocated space the sound is totally indecipherable whilst other areas are hit by an excess of echo. In consequence, this led to an occasional inbalance between the three players.
Nevertheless, despite this obstacle, the trio played a very listenable hour of standards. Roly sang and soloed in his easily identifiable style with Neil Harland solid in support. Sue Ferris on tenor seemed to be the one least affected by the acoustics; her smooth sound and flowing lines pure delight.
"All the Things You Are" bore comparison with any of the zillions of versions I've heard, "Besame Mucho" had Roly vocalising on one of my favourites with Sue fluting it and "Long Ago and Far Away" had good solos all round including Roly's almost wistful reading of the lyric.
My only complaint - the raised eyebrows from a nearby table when my colleagues and I had the audacity to applaud a solo!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Red Rodney at the Corner House 1983

Listening to a CD by the Red Rodney Quintet made back in the 1950s brought to mind the evening when the trumpet player appeared at the Corner House in Heaton. This was in December 1983 and Red gave a scintillating performance with the Willie Payne Band (Mike Gilby (tpt), Syd Warren (fl/ten), Bill Harper (pno), Derek Dixon (bs), Willie Payne (gtr) and somebody is going to have to remind me of the drummers name!)
It was one of those 'nights to remember' even if I have forgotten the drummer's name and it has to be said that Mike Gilby held his own with the American as did the rest of Willie's band.
I'd already had a couple of photos of the gig in album but I have managed to hunt a few more out so I've herded them all together in a Red Rodney album which can be viewed by clicking here. And if you can tell me the name of the drummer please do.

2009 Obituaries

Rusty Dedrick: Veteran trumpet player, arranger, educator. 25 Dec 2009. Pete King: Co-founder of Ronnie Scott's. 20 Dec. 2009. Yvonne King Burch: Member of vocal group the King Sisters. 13 Dec. 2009. Sonny Bradshaw: Jamaican trumpet player. 14 Dec. 2009. Darren Grainger: Sax player, local. 2 Dec. 2009. Chris Yates: Jazz writer and promoter (Jazz North East). 28 November 2009. Pia Beck: Dutch pianist/singer. 26 November 2009. Jeff Clyne: British bassist. 16 November 2009. Dick Katz: Jazz pianist (Benny Carter, J & K, Eldridge etc.) 10 November 2009 Malcolm Laycock: BBC jazz/big band DJ. 8 November 2009. Art D'Lugoff: Jazz club owner. 4 November 2009. Stacy Rowles: Trumpet/flugel horn player. 27 October 2009. Clinton Ford:Singer/entertainer. 21 October, 2009. Sirone: Legendary free jazz bassist. 21 October, 2009. Al Martino: American singer. 13 October, 2009 Ted Williams: Jazz photographer. 13 October 2009. Sonny Bradshaw: Jamaican multi-instrumentalist and musical ambassador. 10 October 2009. Joe Maneri: Experimental composer amd saxophonist. 31 August. Marie Knight: Gospel singer. 30 August, 2009. Chris Connor: Beautiful vocalist - class. 29 August 2009. Ernest Brown: Cotton Club dancer, vaudeville hoofer. 21 August 2009. Lawrence Lucie: Rhythm guitarist (Carter, Ellington, Armstrong, Holiday et al.) Died aged 101. 14 August 2009. Les Paul: Guitarist and Inventor (understatement!). 13 August 2009. Jackie Tracey: Wife of pianist, composer, Stan Tracey. 13 August 2009. Rashied Ali: Free jazz drummer. 12 August 2009. George Russell: Influential composer and arranger. 27 July 2009. Jim Chapin: Drummer, drum teacher. 4 July 2009. Dickie Hawdon: British trumpet player, Dankworth etc. Eddie Preston: Ex Hampton, Mingus, Ellington trumpet player. 22 June 2009. Steve Race: Pianist, critic, broadcaster, writer. 22 June 2009. Charlie Mariano: Great alto player. 16 June 2009. Huey Long: Guitarist with The Inkspots. 10 June 2009 Jack Nimitz: West coast baritone player. 10 June 2009. Hugh Hopper: Bassist with Soft Machine. 7 June 2009 Sam Butera: Honking tenor man. 3 june, 2009. Koko Taylor: "The Queen of the Blues". 3 June 2009. Carol 'Cookie' Cole: Sister of Natalie Cole. 22 May 2009. Buddy Montgomery: pianist/vibist brother of Wes. 15 May 2009 Zeke Zarchy: Big band Trumpet player. 12 April 2009. Johnny Roadhouse: Manchester based alto player, music shop owner, ex NDO. 11 April 2009. Charlie Kennedy: Gene Krupa alto sax. 3 April 2009. Bud Shank: West Coast Alto sax & fluteplayer. 2 April 2009. Mel Brown: blues guitarist. 19 March 2009 Jack Lawrence: Composer, lyricist (Tenderly). 18 March 2009. Eddie Bo: Bluesman. 18 March 2009 Lars Erstrand: Swedish vibes player. Recorded with Rebecca Kilgore. 11 March 2009. Willie King: Bluesman. 8 March 2009. John Cephas: Piedmont blues guitarist. 4 March 2009. Ian Carr: Trumpet player, composer, Emcee Five, Don Rendell, Nucleus ... 25 Feb. 2009 Fats Sadi: Belgium Vibes player. Clarke-Boland. 20 Feb 2009. Snooks Eaglin: Blues Guitarist. 18 Feb 2009 Louis Bellson: World's Greatest Drummer? 14 Feb. 2009 Coleman Merrett: Guitarist killed Buffalo Air Crash 12 Feb 2009. Gerry Niewood: Sax player killed Buffalo Air Crash 12 Feb 2009 Mat Mathews: Dutch jazz accordionist 12 Feb 2009 Vic Lewis: Guitarist, Big Band leader. 9 Feb. 2009 Blossom Dearie: Legendary singer 7 Feb 2009 Hank Crawford: Super Soul Saxman 29 Jan 2009 Leonard Gaskin: Bass player 24 Jan 2009 Janet Cook: Editor Jazz Journal International 23 Jan 2009 David "Fathead" Newman: Super Soul Saxman 20 Jan 2009 Whitey Mitchell: Bassist and writer 16 Jan 2009 Leroy Cooper: Bari sax with Ray Charles 15 Jan 2009

Singin' the Blues

Aspiring blues singers are advised to click here for instant inspiration.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Senor Blues from Angela J.Elliott

Last month I linked up with Angela J.Elliott's 'MySpace' for "The Day Lee Morgan Died."
Angela's latest poems are inspired by Horace Silver's "Senor Blues" and Duke Jordan's "Jordu". Click here to read.
Her profile includes ... "Been and done just about everything a woman can do legally and still have fun... ...I am intrigued by jazz life and the way in which our musical heroes often die tragically, but also by the way in which jazz is about so much more than just the music." Is she perceptive or is she perceptive?

Thursday, January 01, 2009

New Years Resolutions

To listen to as much jazz as possible, to get to more gigs and to campaign for the abolition of the banjo in polite circles.

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About this blog - contact details.

Bebop Spoken Here -- Here, being the north-east of England -- centred in the blues heartland of Newcastle and reaching down to the Tees Delta and looking upwards to the Land of the Kilt.
Not a very original title, I know; not even an accurate one as my taste, whilst centred around the music of Bird and Diz, extends in many directions and I listen to everything from King Oliver to Chick Corea and beyond. Not forgetting the Great American Songbook the contents of which has provided the inspiration for much great jazz and quality popular singing for round about a century.
The idea of this blog is for you to share your thoughts and pass on your comments on discs, gigs, jazz - music in general. If you've been to a gig/concert or heard a CD that knocked you sideways please share your views with us. Tell us about your favourites, your memories, your dislikes.
Lance (Who wishes it to be known that he is not responsible for postings other than his own and that he's not always responsible for them.)
PS:I don't care what your political views are - you can love or hate Cameron, Clegg, Milliband, Farage, Genghis Khan or Julius Caesar - just don't air them here!
Contact: lanceliddle@gmail.com I look forward to hearing from you.

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